Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong confirmed the news during an inspection of the ‘Local Quarantine’ facilities available at the Nai Yang Beach Resort & Spa on Phuket’s northwest coast yesterday (Apr 30).
Joining Vice Governor Pichet for the inspection was Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon and a team of medical officers.
Vice Governor Phichet explained that there were two hotels in Thalang District, which covers the northern half of the island, to detain high-risk contacts: the Airport Hotel and the Nai Yang Beach Resort & Spa.
Modifications made and the procedures observed at both hotels were satisfactory, he noted.
Vice Governor Pichet explained that from April 4-30, a total of 1,530 people had been ordered to observe high-risk detention, half of which were quarantined at hotels, and the rest observed their quarantine at home.
“Currently about 549 people remain in hotels, and 500-600 others remain in their homes,” he said.
There are 510 hotel rooms available in Phuket for high-risk contacts to observe their quarantine, Mr Pichet noted.
The Recenta hotel in Phuket Town has 154 rooms for people in Muang Phuket, the Royal Paradise Hotel in Patong has 150 rooms for people in Kathu District, while the Nai Yang Beach Resort & Spa Hotel has 133 rooms and the Airport Hotel has 73 rooms for people Thalang District, he explained.
“Most of those exposed to high risk from COVID-infected patients are now almost fully quarantined,” he said.
“As a result, some of the high-risk people are now confined to their homes,” he added.
“If the authorities consider that they can be detained at home, if, for example, they can be confined to a room alone, without affecting the family, or placing the whole family under quarantine,” he added.
“Health officials will go to monitor the symptoms [of the high risk contact] at home every day and conduct swab tests to detect infection on the fifth and 13th day of the quarantine,” he said.
However, he noted that not all people were able to observe their quarantine at home as they were unable to remain separated from other family members, prompting the need for hotels to be used to serve as Local Quarantine venues.
"We require a large number of rooms, and the province needs to spend a lot of money on hotel room rental as well, even if rented at the government rate,” he said.
“Therefore we are allowing this if people can be safely detained at home. But if they cannot be detained at home, they will need to be detained in the hotel in the province. It is necessary to find more rooms to ensure maximum safety,” he added.
The move to allow high risk contacts to observe their quarantine at home follows Dr Somsak Akksilp, Director-General of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Medical Services, presenting the suggestion to national health officials on Apr 24.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing number of infected cases, to improve the treatment and the management of patient beds in this current situation officers of the Department of Medical Services and other officials already discussed and altogether agreed to adjust the treatment plan,” Dr Somsak said.
The suggestions were explained as follows: “Those who are infected but do not have any symptoms: are to come to receive treatment in hospital or places that the government has arranged for at least 10 days after they are tested positive, and then allow to recuperate at home for 14 days more.
“Those who are infected with only light symptoms: are to come to receive treatment in hospitals at least 10 days after they have symptoms. If they receive treatment for 10 full days but still have symptoms, allow them to stay in the hospitals or places that the government has arranged for 24-48 hours, and then allow them to recuperate at home for 14 days more.
“However, during the recuperation at home, patients must strictly follow the suggestions given by medical staff before returning home.
“Medical staff have a system to follow up patients’ symptoms and provide care for 14 days, in order to create confidence in health safety. If any abnormal symptoms arise, patients can contact medical staff or a hospital at any time 24 hours a day.”